What’s not to love about supreme optimism?

It’s the best time of the year for college football fans, especially those favoring the SEC. Dreams of a national championship aren’t yet crushed and homers abound can all take a stab at guessing wins and losses on their respective team’s schedule.

‘Best Case Scenario’ Series

  • Aug. 12: Vanderbilt
  • Aug. 13: Mississippi St.
  • Aug. 14: Tennessee


2013 record: 12-2, 7-1
2014 best case: 15-0, 8-0
Closer look: Like Alabama, Auburn has the talent and coaching staff needed win the College Football Playoff this season, but whether or not that happens depends on several variables. Should the Tigers stay healthy and avoid off-the-field distractions, the familiar ‘one game at a time’ approach will come in handy as Auburn tries to tip-toe its way through a brutal schedule filled with potential landmines nearly every week. Auburn had the luxury of performing without a bullseye on its back last season, but this time around, every opposing team in the SEC wants what the Tigers possess. If Auburn earns a spot in the Final Four at season’s end, the Tigers will have earned it with potentially five victories over ranked teams away from Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Silver lining: A season under his belt in Gus Malzahn’s system will work wonders for quarterback Nick Marshall, a player who will have matured into a reliable passer by October. His touchdown pass total could nearly double if the Tigers’ focus on getting the ball into the hands of top-level playmakers Sammie Coates and D’haquille Williams. Auburn won’t necessarily rely on luck this time around in key situations, but breaks are needed for all championship teams on their way toward a special season.